Thursday, March 17, 2016

Candy Critic Dessert Club – Allison's Special - Pancakes!

I love Allison's pancakes, there I said it.  I love Allison too, even more than her pancakes, but as long as I can have both, I'm in a pretty good place.  Allison only makes her pancakes if we have at least 2 guests visiting for brunch.  Because of this rule, we've had more brunches at our house than any other meal combined.  People always tell Allison that she shouldn't "fuss" over these pancakes for them, but frankly, some of these people would never be invited if pancakes weren't on the line.

Allison claims that her pancakes are simple, but I disagree, while the ingredients are simple, the finesse to make them just right is something that must be practiced.  If you happen to make this recipe, screw it up, please send pictures as I'd like to prove that to Allison how awesome she is.

The ingredients (Think 2s):

2 cups all purpose flour
2 table spoons white sugar
2 tea spoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups milk
2 table spoons oil
2 eggs (optional you can separate the egg yolks and beat whites to fold into mixture)
This first thing you can do is mix all of the dry ingredients together, that means the flour, white sugar, baking powder, and salt.  The great thing about this is that you can do this part well in advance.  Since you want to have pancakes that came fresh off the pan, and often this means getting up early to make these pancakes, why not get through part of the recipe the night before.  Sleep in a few minutes before your guests arrive.

Next mix in the milk, but do it slowly.  If you mix the milk in too quickly you'll get lumps, and you don't want lumps.  This is also the part that requires a bit of practice, depending on the flour and the milk  you use, sometimes 2 cups is a little too much or no exactly enough.  You want a slightly thick batter, but again, NOT LUMPY!  You might have to practice this a few times because unfortunately you don't really know if your mixture is  too runny until you put it on the hot pan, and by that time it's way too late to add more flour.

This is a point where you can mix in any extra ingredients you might want.  In our house chocolate chips are acceptable, fruit is not.  These are not my rules as I love blueberry or raspberry pancakes, but since she's making them, I'm not complaining.

Once you have the unlumpy batter mixed, stir in the oil and the eggs... sort of.

This is also the time where you can decide if you want to be lazy, or if you want to have the fluffiest pancakes in the world.  If you want to be lazy, mix in the eggs and oil and you're done. You will have slightly fluffy pancakes using this method, but they could be fluffier.  If you want to go the extra mile, add your oil, and separate the eggs and just add the egg yolks.  Then, beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until they're stiff (or can hold their shape).  Then fold in the egg white into the batter, but don't mix it too much.

Once you have the batter mixed, and any other ingredients mixed in as well, it's time to cook these bad boys.  Allison uses a standard ladle as her measurement, and in a large pan can fit 3.  There's also a bit of oil in the pan to keep them from sticking.  She cooks the pancakes until she can see the brown around the  edges and carefully flips them.  This can take a different amount of time depending on how thick the batter is, how big the pancakes are, and how hot the pan is.  Keep in mind that when you start making the pancakes the pan will be cool, so it might take a little longer than the 2nd or 3rd batch.  All I can say is that pancake cooking takes a bit of practice and chances are you'll ruin a few.

I could get into flipping pancakes, but frankly I think it's magical.  The first flip is always the most dangerous because at this point the top of your pancake is still batter, and it can be messy.  One quick motion and a little bit of nerve seems to be the way to go.  One thing to keep note is that under doing your pancakes is better than burning them, so error on the side of caution.
To keep your pancakes warm, put your stove on to about 190 degrees.  Put a tin foil covered cookie sheet in the oven, and as you finish each batch put them on the cookie sheet.  It's also a good idea to drape another sheet of tin foil on top of your pancakes in the oven to keep the moisture in.  Once all your pancakes are done, top them with whatever you want (except Vermont  maple syrup, after all we're Canadian), and serve.

A great deal of our relationship hovers around the making of pancakes.  I know that making them is a lot of work for Allison, and I appreciate it.  I tend to make her a ridiculous amount of bacon  when we have pancakes (often burning my arms in the process), so there is some mutual cooking going on.  I'm also in charge of many of the other toppings, while Allison doesn't go for them, our guests are often keen, and happy guests means we gain a reputation for having these meals, which means we have more of these meals, which means I get more pancakes.


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